CADE condemns two cases of price fixing for driving schools
The Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE condemned two cases of price fixing on 4 June 2014. Minimum price tables were used by driving schools to charge for the attainment of the national driver’s license. The anticompetitive practices took place in the states of São Paulo and Mato Grosso. The fines applied to four companies and two individuals totalize BRL 267,000.
In São Paulo (Administrative Proceeding no. 08012.003873/2009-93), the training centers for drivers Aika, Nova Aclimação, Fred, and Montana, and an individual were condemned to pay a total fine of BRL 255,000. The parties were associated to the Union of Driving Schools and Training Centers for Drivers of the state of São Paulo – SINDAUTO, which were already condemned for the same practice in a proceeding judged in 2006.
Reporting Commissioner, Eduardo Pontual, explained that a group from the union developed the tables aiming at standardizing the prices of theoretical and practical training services for drivers in order to subsidize the decisions of SINDAUTO. The group also emitted communications to the driving schools orienting them to adopt the minimum established prices and threatened those that refused to follow this orientation.
“Price tables induce uniform conducts and create difficulties to companies in the same segment to offer lower prices on goods and services in their possibilities. Each entrepreneur knows the correct price to charge in their business, not the union”, said Pontual.
The proceeding against the company GBG Consultoria, currently Ipso Dados Consultoria Ltda, was filed for the absence of evidence.
The other parties, a driving school and nine individuals, have already signed a Cease and Desist Agreement (TCC for its acronym in Portuguese), whereby they compromise to cease the practice and pay a pecuniary contribution of BRL 105,000.
In the state of Mato Grosso, the former president of the Union of Training Centers for Drivers of the state of Mato Grosso – SINDICFC-MT was condemned to pay a fine of BRL 12,000. The anticompetitive conducts consisted in imposing minimum prices to be charged by the driving schools in the cities of Cuiabá and Vázea Grande. SINDICFC-MT was already condemned by the same practice in 2010.
The Reporting Commissioner of this case, Alessandro Octaviani, stated that the table developed by the union not only fixed prices for the attainment of the driver’s license, but also determined other commercial conditions to be practiced by the service providers, such as the obligation to charge for the car rental used in the practical test. “The standardization of prices and commercial practices among competitors infringe the rule of free competition”, he declared.